In July, the planes of five big bosses (Bolloré, JC Decaux, Kering, Bouygues or LVMH) totaled 53 flights, some of which took less than 20 minutes, according to a Twitter account created to denounce “climaticidal management of their capital“. These revelations cause an outcry on the web. They are all the more resounding as these lifestyles are in contradiction with the official speeches of these companies endowed with ambitious CSR strategies.
Caught in the private jet! Accounts have been created on Twitter or Instagram to track the private jet journeys of big bosses. Thus, the Twitter account @i_fly_Bernard which follows the flights of the groups of Bernard Arnault (boss of LVMH and third French fortune), Vincent Bolloré, François Pinault (boss of Kering), the two planes of Martin Bouygues or that of JCDecaux counts 123 hours of flight for these devices alone for the month of July. In total, these journeys emitted 520 tonnes of CO2, i.e. “the equivalent of the emissions of an average Frenchman for 52 years“, calculates the Twitter account created by an engineer in aeronautics who wishes to remain anonymous.
“The methodology used is simpleindicates the author of the Twitter account. Aircraft owners are identified by aircraft registration“and the flight data is public. However, the identity of the people on board the aircraft cannot be known. These events, which are very popular on social networks, are directly inspired by the @Elonjet Twitter account created by the American Jack Sweeney. “This account has every right to publish the location of the jets, every plane in the world must have a transponder“, indicates the one who initially tracked the flights of Elon Musk then those of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
A gap between words and deeds
The initiative then took off. Accounts on Instagram follow the movements of stars, politicians, billionaires, business leaders, influencers… But also big bosses like @laviondebernard, always in reference to the boss of LVMH, who follows the devices of Bernard Arnault and Total Energies. The objective is to denounce private flights that are particularly harmful to the environment.
Short flights or journeys that could have been made by train are targeted, such as the Paris-Marseille round trip of the Bolloré plane made in July. “The same trip by TGV would have polluted 2,500 times less“, notes the Twitter account @i_fly_Bernard transformed into a tool for combating climate change. “A private jet flight is ten times more polluting than an airliner“, calculates for his part Matteo Mirolo of the NGO Transport and Environment.
The aim is also to make public the gap between official speeches and deeds. Thus, while the boss of Total Energies recently signed a platform to call for sobriety, he went to Marseille in early July by jet from Paris, reveals @laviondebernard. The Kering group has developed an innovative tool (EP&L) to quantify and compare the effects of its activities on the environment, but its boss does not hesitate to travel by private jet…
Denounce publicly to encourage action
This “Name & Shame” strategy had already been used by the Transport and Environment organization. To limit the use of private flights, the association network which campaigns in favor of a carbon-free mobility system has drawn up a ranking of the efforts (or rather the absence of efforts) of 230 large American and European companies. However, only 3% of the companies analyzed display ambitious objectives in terms of business travel.
Less use of private jets is however “the only effective way to reduce in the short term the emissions linked to aviation, whose effects on the climate are the most significant“, says T&E. The ranking aims to encourage companies to “publicly commit to reducing flights by at least 50% compared to 2019 by 2025“.
These revelations are not without consequences. After the publication of the movements of Bernard Arnaud’s private jet last May, the aircraft remained grounded. “He made a single flight in July (against ten per month before the buzz). Rental jets need to be more comfortable“, ironically advances the Twitter account @i_fly_Bernard. Perhaps also that the boss has reviewed certain habits, while the exceptional heat waves are hitting the country…
Mathilde Golla @Mathgolla